by Robert A. Given
It has been said that there are few areas as well defined
by district boundaries as Alderwood:
on the east by Kipling Avenue,
on the west by Etobicoke Creek,
on the north by Evans Avenue
on the south by the Canadian National Railway tracks.
Alderwood is part of the old Colonel Samuel Smith Tract
which was between Kipling Avenue and Etobicoke Creek
from Bloor Street south to Lake Ontario.
Col. Smith lived in a 1-storey wooden house
south of Lake Shore Road just east of Etobicoke Creek.
He served in the Queen's Rangers when Toronto
was being established, and twice was administrator of our province
when the lieutenant-governor was absent.
Most of Etobicoke was surveyed into 100-acre farm lots
for settlement, except the lots which touched Etobicoke Creek,
the lake, or the Humber River were usually smaller
because those lot boundaries were irregular, not straight lines.
The first row of lots extended from the lake north to Lake Shore Road,
the next row of lots extended from Lake Shore Road to Horner Avenue,
the next to Evans Avenue,
then to North Queen Street,
then to a surveyed east-west line through
the intersection of winding Dundas Street and Brown's Line
and finally from that line north to Bloor Street.
Joseph Brown emigrated from Yorkshire, England, in 1831
and became the first permanent Alderwood settler
establishing a farm on the west side of "Brown's Line"
between Evans and North Queen.
The 1856 map of Etobicoke shows the farm extending
west to Etobicoke Creek and also narrow 50-acre farms
on both sides of Brown's Line from Dundas to Bloor.
Joseph had a son Joseph F. Brown.
Perhaps the best-known farm in Alderwood was Ashfield
between Horner and Evans Avenues east from Brown's Line
3/5ths of the way to Kipling Avenue.
It consisted of three 100-acre lots side by side.
Archibald Cameron, a Toronto merchant,
built the Ashfield manor-house about 1850
which still stands at what is now 183 Beta Avenue.
It had 14 rooms and a number of fireplaces,
one with a crane from which hung the cooking pot.
As a real estate broker Daniel Fisher Horner discovered
the opportunity to buy Ashfield from Cameron who happened
to have a financial problem in 1874.
Daniel Fisher Horner was elected to Etobicoke Township Council
from 1881 to 1884 and again in 1886.
In 1891 natural gas was discovered at the Mimico Asylum
when sinking a well for fresh water.
A new well was sunk at Ashfield and it provided natural gas
for lighting and cooking until 1917 when the manor-house
was wired for electricity.
Son Franklin Horner was a school trustee for 20 years.
To the east of Ashfield was the Wm. D. and John Lafferty Farm
with its homestead at what was to be 12 Connervale Avenue.
In 1878 John O'Connor purchased the farm.
John O'Connor's first job on arriving from Ireland
was as a hod carrier for the building of Ashfield
while he was living in a small old log cabin on the Lafferty Farm.
John O'Connor and his wife Ellen O'Leary were musical
but it was their 6 daughters who were the sensation
at Shea's Vaudeville Theatre in Buffalo from which
they went on to tour the United States, and Europe for years.
Hamilton to Toronto rail service began in 1853
with Mimico having a station and a subdivision for commuters
but few purchased lots for homes.
The Toronto and Mimico Electric Railway and Light Co.
was formed in 1890 to have streetcars on Lake Shore Road
while the Mimico Real Estate Security Co.
was establishing the industrial New Toronto.
Streetcars didn't reach Etobicoke Creek until July 1, 1895,
but small lots were for sale on Kipling from Lake Shore Road
to Horner Avenue. Kipling at that time was called Mimico Avenue.
Long Branch began in the late 1880s as a summer resort
with a dock for boats.
In the early years Evans Avenue did not extend
east of Kipling and The Queensway did not go west of Kipling.
In 1909 the Middle Road Bridge on Evans Avenue
was built across Etobicoke Creek joining the Middle Road
in Mississauga which was mid way between the
Lake Shore Road and Dundas running westward.
It was the first concrete truss bridge in Canada,
the second in North America.
It was designed by Frank Barber & C.W. Young
with O.L. Hicks the Humber Bay hotel keeper
and bridge contractor in charge.
A herd of cattle proved it was safe to use!
The close of World War I saw great changes in Alderwood.
In 1918 Edgar T. Stephens bought the farm
on the northwest corner of Brown's Line and the railway tracks.
Soon it was subdivided with streets named Asquith, Borden,
Fosh, Gort, Haig, Jellicoe, and Lloyd-George.
He followed this by Alderbrae, Hallmark, Lunness,
Rimilton, Sheldon and Valermo in 1920 northeast
of Brown's Line and Horner.
Then came Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta Streets
with thoughts of the Greek alphabet.
A volunteer fire brigade was organized with William O'Connor,
Robert G. Johnson and William Patterson
as trustees and John P. O'Connor as Chief in 1931.
Stepping back to the early 1840s Etobicoke Township
was divided into 7 school sections.
Mimico was S.S.#1 with a school on Royal York Road probably near the lake.
Eatonville was S.S.#2 and its popular "Swamp School"
was on the northwest corner of Brown's Line and Bloor Street.
Children hid in the decaying trunks of the big elm trees!
Joseph Brown was one of the trustees.
Lambton Mills was S.S.#3 and Islington came later as S.S.#8.
In 1889 S.S.#12 was created with an acre site
on the south side of Horner Avenue purchased from
Richard R. Newborn for $750.
A little red brick school was built by trustees John O'Connor,
James Martin and Simon Whitlan.
The Ontario and Quebec Railway which is now the C.P.R.
let it be known in 1910 that it wanted to run a spur line
from Islington to the Lakeshore trough the schoolyard.
William O'Connor, Franklin Horner and a third trustee
made an agreement with the railway whereby
the railway purchases for them a new school site,
erects a school and gives them $150 in exchange
for their original schoolhouse and playground.
The new site chosen was the beginning of the
Franklin Horner School of today.
It began as a 1-room brick school built by
McKessock Construction Co. and foremost among
the many innovations to be introduced were large-size
wall-mounted slate blackboards.
Individual wooden desks for the children,
many glass windows and a coal-burning stove!
For children living near the lake, classes were held
in Long Branch Baptist Church which opened
December 19, 1914, while a new 4-room school
was being built on 31st Street at Lake Shore Road.
New Toronto became S.S.#13, Sunny Lea S.S.#14
and Queen Street became S.S.#15.
Long Branch insisted on being S.S.#12 so
Alderwood was given the last of the old numbers S.S.#16.
In 1921 Franklin Horner, Wm. O'Connor and James O'Donahoe
purchased part of Martin J. Sanford's farm
for the Sir Adam Beck Memorial School on Horner Avenue
west of Brown's Line.
H. McGrath was engaged as principal of this new school
and to supervise the Franklin Horner School to the east.
After years of holding classes in the original
Anglican Church of the Atonement a 4-room addition
was built for the Franklin Horner School in 1926.
About 1932 the local Taxpayers' Association held a meeting
in Sir Adam Beck School.
It was decided to apply for a local Post Office to be called Alderwood,
a name suggested by Robert Johnson.
In 1933 a post office was opened in a small store
on Horner Avenue at Delta Street.
The British North America Philatelic Society
published a 2 volume "Ontario Post Offices"
listing Alderwood as open 1949/1955 Brown's Line?
And for Brown's Line it states open September 3, 1935,
close March 12, 1951.
Your comments are invited.